Every so often (and usually near Christmas) we are asked how much a ‘decent’ laptop will cost. Of course the answer depends on what you mean by decent.
Typically you can spend anything between £300 to £3000 on a new laptop and unsurprisingly there are significant differences between them but laptop purchases should be led by the IT requirements of the user and the organisation, rather than an attractive price point.
When purchasing a laptop it important to know what the laptop will be used for and what features are essential versus desirable. The type of choices to make include:
- What is your anticipated budget?
- Is it important the laptop is very light?
- What is your preferred screen size? For example would 13” be okay or are we looking at 14 -15”. Smaller models are generally more expensive in some ranges.
- Do you need the laptop to have Mobile Broadband – i.e. do you need internet access anywhere with an optional SIM slot? This requires a mobile data plan with a mobile provider.
- Are you likely to use graphics intensive programs e.g. photo and video manipulation / presentation or will this be for simple web browsing?
- Will you need a numeric keypad on the laptop or will the smaller keyboard be sufficient?
- Do you need the keyboard to be backlit? This is useful in a dark environment.
When buying a laptop then we need to find out what your needs are on a per person basis, but the purpose of this post is simply to manage your expectations about the price you’ll pay. These are ball-park price bracket with a view on the sorts of laptop you’ll get for your money:
Up to £350 + VAT
If you only have a few hundred pounds to spare then we recommend you consider a refurbished laptop. In doing so you’ll end up with something faster than you can find in the shops and at the same time saving the planet. New laptops under £350 are simply a waste of time and money.
£350 – £600 + VAT
Laptops in this price bracket tend to be lower powered and will generally ship with older technology and basic warranty and upgrade options. When buying a laptop in this price bracket you are generally looking at older style hard disks, low powered processors (slower to run) and less RAM (the laptop will slow down quicker with fewer programs open). This price bracket is likely to include domestic versions of laptops which are less rugged (e.g. plastic chassis rather than metal) and so have a much reduced lifespan. Typically they could also include Windows 10 Home (no disk encryption). Your upgrade options will also be very limited (e.g. low maximum RAM). Laptops in this price bracket tend to be heavier and have larger screens.
£600 – £900 + VAT
Laptops in this price bracket will generally have suitably sized solid state hard disks and more reasonable processors and RAM. You may have better warranty options, or a more robust build quality and this are likely to have Windows 10 Pro which will include disk encryption. There may be some options on screen size but laptops may not be light weight. Such laptops would be okay for general use e.g. email and internet. We would expect you to get around three years out of a laptop in this price bracket but extended warranties are usually available at extra cost to protect your investment.
£900 – £1300 + VAT
Laptops in this bracket are where the business-class laptops sit. With good processors and RAM you will typically find decent warranty (e.g. 3 to 5 years) to protect your investment along with improved upgrade options, lighter weight, screen size options (e.g. 13” 14” and 15”) and optional mobile broadband. You will also have much improved performance for graphics intensive applications often with dedicated video cards. I would expect you to get five years out of a laptop in this price bracket, subject to a suitable warranty.
£1300 – £3000 + VAT
Laptops in this price bracket are generally used for graphics / CAD / ultralight and will carry a three to five year warranty alongside a great specification and performance. If you want a laptop in this price bracket please specify your most important criteria and we’ll cost up a laptop for you. I would expect you to get five years or more out of a laptop on this price bracket as it is likely to have a good warranty and be pretty upgradeable.
Don’t forget the extras!
When buying a laptop also consider extra costs for suitable application software, security suite, laptop case, wireless mouse, remote monitoring and management services and labour charges for assisted setup. We can give you a better idea of these costs along with a formal quotation for the laptop.